Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Paperback
Published: November 1, 2005
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
They've waited a decade to come together. Long years filled with unbearable pain, and soul-wrenching torment that have changed them both and left wounds that have laid their souls bare. Wounds that stand one chance of healing—if only they could stop fighting each other long enough for the truth to work its healing balm.
Kane, a relentless warrior, lost more than his heart to Sherra in a night of mating passion that marked them both for life. But news of her death ripped his soul apart. For years he has fought to avenge the death of the woman he loved more than his own life, by revealing the deceit and cruelty of the Council that created the Breeds.
But Sherra didn't die. In a cruel and evil twist she was convinced by her sadistic handlers that the man she had given her body, heart and soul to had betrayed not only her, but the child she carried—and lost.
Amid the rapidly escalating violence against the Feline Breeds, Kane and Sherra learn that there's more to mating than just the "heat", just as there's more to love than just the sex...
Eleven years ago Kane Tyler infiltrated one of the government Breed labs and experienced a night of heated "mating frenzy" in the arms of Sherra, a beautiful Snow Leopard Breed...Afterward, Kane committed the ultimate mistake by leaving her behind as he went in search of help. Attacked by one of her Pride brothers, he was left fighting for his life for months, only to learn of the destruction of the lab upon his waking.
For the past eleven years he's lived only to avenge Sherra by bringing the Genetic Council to justice and allowing the Breeds the freedom they deserved, when one night Sherra reappears in his life, alive and well...Hating him.
When Kane failed to return all those years ago, Sherra was convinced he'd abandoned her, making him a perfect target for her hate, blaming him for everything she'd endured afterward, the death of their baby...Even now, after learning the truth about what happened, she still strives to hate him, but Kane is adamant to make her see the attraction between them is more than just the mating heat...But with new threats emerging from every corner, will she realized it in time?
Oh. My. God.
I hoped this book would be good, but it certainly exceeded all my expectations. Ms. Leigh has struck the perfect balance between plot and the EC required steam. We were plunged straight back in the the heart of the Breed mating heat, but unlike the first two books, here the sex scenes, though still abundant, didn't deter from the main plot, but complimented it, supporting the story, and propelled it forward. As the story progressed, the characters grew and developed, so did the steamy scenes change, from the initial savage release of two angry, resentful almost-strangers, to the loving joining of two people in love when all the conflicts were resolved and the past resentments were resolved.
The characterization was marvelously done. Kane remained true to himself, consistent with the image he's maintained since the first book, the little digs were still there, even more venomous at the beginning, dissolving into more playful banter as the story progressed. Ms. Leigh has truly created a wonderful character. He's strong, determined to protect everything and everyone he cares for (even if they don't want him to), capable of the deepest love and most seething anger, but when his control finally breaks, he's still gentle, still protective, more reproachful toward himself than anyone else...His feelings toward Sherra were almost palpable, utterly bitter-sweet in their intensity and desperation, and the reader could literally feel how her continual refusals bit into him. Yet, he still persevered, wanting to help, wanting to comfort her, make her happy...
Sherra was also wonderfully portrayed. So stubborn to shake her silly, so utterly sad to cry with her, so resentful yet desperate to grasp at anything she could, so scared and scarred and in need of comfort and love I forgot every hurtful word she hurled at Kane at the same time I wanted to slap her for being such a stubborn hellcat. The inner scars ran deep, the protective barriers around her were too thick, too high, yet they literally crumbled with every scene, giving in under Kane's sensual, loving assault...But she still continued with her silly stubbornness until it was almost too late, until at last she was woman enough to admit at her failings and brave enough to take a huge leap of faith from the proverbial cliff.
Kane and Sherra's (love) story was such an emotional roller-coaster everything paled in comparison. The supporting cast, though quite a massive body count, did their "job" marvelously, keeping in the back, letting the two of them shine, occasionally providing a valuable insight or word of wisdom, though Sherra refused to listed to reason almost to the end.
Another hidden gem of this story were Seth and Dawn. I went to check the blurbs of the next books in the series and I got very, very giddy. *huge grin*
I'd definitely recommend this book to every single fan of paranormal romance, not just the Breed and Leigh fans, although you might consider reading the series from the beginning to get acquainted with "the Breed history", the characters and their relationship and interactions with each other. Though it could definitely be read as a standalone, the general details are explained, it could prove a little difficult to follow for a "novice".
A definite keeper if there was one.